Adolescents diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) report that they often feel burdened by their diagnosis and struggle with social interactions and anxiety. Concurrently, adolescents with ASD rarely know adult role models with ASD who can serve as a source of guidance and inspiration. The Autism Mentorship Program (AMP) is a first-of-its-kind program that matches autistic* adolescents with autistic adults in one-to-one mentoring relationships (*identity-first language preferred). AMP was designed to provide youth with a sense of identity and belonging, by means of a supportive relationship. The aim of this study was to explore the promise of AMP to affect mentors’ and mentees’ self-concept and self-satisfaction. Seven mentee-mentor pairs (N=14) completed pre- and post-test assessments. Results showed that 83% of mentees and 57% of mentors improved in overall self-concept. Mentees experienced a moderate change in life-satisfaction (d=0.56) and a moderate to large change in self-satisfaction (d=0.71). Mentors reported a minimal change in self-satisfaction (d=0.13) and a small increase in life-satisfaction (d=0.30). One hundred percent of mentees and mentors reported satisfaction with the program. As such, AMP shows promise as a mutually beneficial program for supporting aspects of wellbeing for individuals with ASD.
Sponsored by UMN’s Institute for Translational Research in Children’s Mental Health, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and the College of Education and Human Development
Tomfohrde, Olivia; Goldberg, Emily; Goerdt, Annie; Weiler, Lindsey; Hudock, Rebekah.
Autism mentorship program: A self-concept strengthening program.
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